Title: Manuscript for Murder
Author: Chautona Havig
Series: The Hartfield Mysteries, book 1
Major Themes: Mysteries, Romance, Writing
Synopsis: When suddenly the murders that Alexa Hartfield writes about are replicated in Fairbury, the local police must figure out who is doing them, as well as how the murderer is finding out what Alexa wrote.
I have always shied away from murder mysteries. As a Christian who takes literally the teachings of Jesus not to kill and the guidelines throughout the New Testament that we are not to be involved with bringing criminals to justice, but rather to leave that to the civil authorities, I’m just not comfortable reading books like that. So, Manuscript for Murder was a bit of a stretch for me. I really enjoyed it, though, and plan to read the rest of the series.
The main character of Manuscript for Murder is Alexa Hartfield, an author who writes bestselling murder mysteries. As she starts a new book, someone seems to be targeting her; she ends up in the emergency room one night. She works that incident into her book—and a few days later, someone is murdered in Fairbury in exactly the same way she described in her book! When the same thing happens a week or two later, Alexa and the police chief know that it can’t be a coincidence—but who is doing this, why, and how?
There were some things I really enjoyed about this book. In one discussion, Alexa explains to a friend why she, a Christian, writes murder mysteries. I had never thought about why people like to read murder mysteries, but the line of reasoning presented here really makes sense. I also appreciated Alexa’s attitude about clothing. She wore whatever she wanted to, no matter if it was in style or not. Her attitude is summed up in one sentence: “I wear what I like when I like, and I don’t worry about what anyone else likes or wears.” There is also some very real humor in the story; I loved the scene in which a 4-year-old told Alexa that what his mother needed for Christmas was new underwear!
In short, Manuscript for Murder is a murder mystery that I can recommend. I’m looking forward to reading more books in the series and find out if or how the relationship between Alexa and the friendly policeman Joe develops.
WARNING: Obviously, there is murder in this book, but never explicitly described.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults